Delaware Woman Jennifer Leyanna's Body Found in Maryland Backyard More Than a Year After She Went Missing
Through investigative measures, Leonard “Buddy” Church, 41, of Henderson, Maryland, was established as a suspect in the murder of Jennifer Leyanna, police said.
A Maryland man has been arrested and charged with the murder of a Delaware woman missing whose remains were found in a Maryland backyard after vanishing more than a year ago, police said.
Jennifer Leyanna, 41, was last seen in the Hartly, Delaware, area on Oct. 9, 2020, investigators said.
Delaware State police detectives investigating her disappearance determined she was likely dead as a result of "criminal actions," they said.
Through investigative measures, Leonard “Buddy” Church, 41, of Henderson, Maryland, was established as a suspect in the murder of Leyanna, police said.
On Feb. 16, Church was taken into custody by Caroline County deputies and was incarcerated in the Maryland Division of Corrections on unrelated criminal charges, Delaware State Police said. Church was extradited to Delaware on Monday and charged with first-degree murder. He has been arraigned and given a $2 million cash bond.
Public records show that Church lived on the same block as where the remains were found. He had already been identified as a suspect during police's initial investigation, officials said.
A motive in Leyanna's killing has not been publicly identified.
Leyanna made her last known phone call to her mother on Oct. 9, 2020, her mother told WMDT-TV in 2021. “It didn’t click that there was anything wrong, usually she’ll say, 'take care of Natalie' but this time she said, 'mom please take care of my baby girl,'” her mother said.
“It’s pretty scary all the scenarios that run through your mind not knowing anything is really bad,” Jennifer’s aunt, Dorothy Cahall, told the news station at the time.
Leyanna's family saw an outpouring of support on the Find Jennifer Leyanna Facebook page after Church's arrest.
"She's home where she belongs," the page posted Tuesday.
Anyone with information about the case is asked to contact Det. Mark Ryde by calling 302-741-2730.
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